NYC vacation March 2024

I’m asking here, as I know there’s several people here who work and/or live in NYC.

My college-age son and I are thinking about going to NYC for spring break. Neither of us has been. I’m looking at staying in midtown. Any recommendations or warnings? This will mostly be a home base for us, so aiming for frugal but not scary.

Is there much practical difference between flying into Newark vs JFK? (The flights I’ve been looking at are for those two airports.) Assume we’re taking public transit from the airport to midtown. Likely we’ll be taking a redeye from the West coast.

Any suggestions for things to do that we might not think of otherwise (not a popular choice like Central Park), or popular destinations that aren’t really worth the time/money?

Our plan is to use public transit and our feet to get around, and we’re tentatively looking at spending 5 full days (Mon-Fri). We did a similar trip to Boston last year and had a fantastic time, but I had some familiarity with Boston. I’m looking to create more good memories with my kid after our family going through some really awful years.



2 reccomendations

  1. Bryant Park-check out their website to see what is going on at different times of the day. They have a lot of interesting things going on there.
  2. Grand Baazar- It is a large flea market and they sell food, antiques and everything in between. This is only on Sundays and is right near central park.
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Cycling around the city by Citibike for one of those days is an excellent way to get around. You can get a day pass, which gives you unlimited rides for a day. That way you can make lots of short trips by bicycle and not have to worry about locking it up (you just put it back into the dock closest to your next destination).

The Hudson River Greenway, a completely separated cycleway up the western side of Manhattan, is spectacular (I believe it’s the most popular bicycle route in the country). If you’re worried about fitness or keeping up, the slower rider could get an electric-assist bike instead of an acoustic bike (might cost a little more).


Times Square :-1: Too touristy, too peopley
MetroCard for the subway: :+1:
Museum of modern art: :unamused:, unless you like modern art
metropolitan museum of art, Frick, Guggenheim: :+1:
Central Park: :+1:


Newark and Laguardia are both closer than JFK


Yeah ,watch the airport you arrive at. JFK is probably closer to your house than NYC. It’s hardly even in the same state as NYC. it’s a long trip from there to downtown, and a very expensive cab ride.

Speaking as a tourist that’s been in NYC many times, but not necessarily very knowledgeable:

Times square for at least a few hours. It’s sensory overload, and totally a tourist trap, but you gotta see it at least once. Don’t listen to the locals who are disgusted with it because only the tourists go there. that’s right. It’s a total assault on your senses. Cool.

Museums, hell yeah.

Being frugal is fine, but really really allocate a lot of money for food. Shovel food into your face from street vendors every chance you get. Then for supper/dinner, treat yourself to a really good restaurant. Something in little italy. Chinatown. There’s a good brazilian restauarant somewhere around there. The food in NYC, the restuarants, that alone is worth the trip. I have many fond memories of various meals there.

SOHO, if the weather’s good, that’s worth a trip to see all the stuff on the streets being sold. NYC, where you can by a turtle off the street.

Soho also has some very cool expensive designer clothes shops. Not to buy, but worth a browse.

Lastly, depending on where you are, you might consider taking the train there. I’m in Canada and no kidding, the train from buffalo to NYC is pretty much the same total time as flying from toronto to NYC by the time you factor in airport time, waiting on the tarmac, travelling from JFK instead of arriving right in the middle of downtown on the train, etc.

Oh, and that cookie store? What the hell is the name, I forget. also a tourist trap, but you gotta go get one of their disgustingly oversized cookies just because you’re a tourist.


The rail connection between EWR and Manhattan is a little more straightforward than the rail connection between JFK and Manhattan. The only reasons a tourist would prefer JFK is because of a significant difference in flight options, because they’re a classic aviation geek, or because they’re focused on visiting Queens or Brooklyn for some reason.

If you want a good view of the Statue of Liberty, but don’t want to deal with the tourist chaos of Liberty and Ellis Islands, consider riding the Staten Island Ferry. You can’t beat the fare.


For the subway, some lines have local (all stops) or express (skip a bunch of stops), so make sure you know the difference!

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March could be a good time to do the High Line (a 1.45 mile elevated park/walkway), as it should be less crowded than in the summer.


+1 for High Line. I went last in mid-October, so wasn’t super busy. g-lassie and I loved exploring around that area.

If you like walking (HEY I’M WALKING HERE!!), NYC is the best place in the world. I think we walked a good 30 miles in a day or two just checking out the different neighborhoods in Manhattan. You can also get good views on the Brooklyn Bridge around sunset, and if you’re adventurous go across all the way and get a slice in Brooklyn somewhere. IIRC there were a few good options right across the bridge. (You may want to taxi back after, it’s a hike). I recall the bridge being an assault on senses, as mentioned about TImes Square before, as there were vendors and general hijinks happening everywhere.

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I love walking through Central Park, especially a round the lake

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They just cleaned it up and there are no more vendors on the bridge

Lol, reads like a classic Captain Obvious review.

Also go to an observation deck. They cost a boatload of cash but you will get views and pictures that you cannot get anywhere else.

You must’ve missed that we’re flying in from the West coast. That’d be a loooooong train ride, and we don’t have time for that.

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If we had to choose one art museum, which would you recommend. Assume we are completely uneducated with regards to art. I’m not sure how interested my son will be in the first place, so I can’t imagine we’d do more than one, if that.

if not into art, Museum of Natural History


Thanks, that’s helpful. I was familiar with the T system when we went to Boston, but I figure New York’s system is a little more complicated. The nonstop flights I was looking at were in and out of those two airports.

This is definitely on the list. I got this suggestion and to walk the Brooklyn Bridge.

Any recommendations? I thought about the Empire State Building, because that’s the only one I know of off the top of my head. I appreciate that an observation deck is worthwhile. The Space Needle in Seattle is worth it for tourists on a clear day, but I think it’s a waste if the mountains aren’t out.